The Gardening Itch

At this point during the winter, I start to get the itch for digging in the dirt. Alas, it’s a rather pointless itch as I must confine my green thumb activities to a few boxes hanging from the windows of my Manhattan apartment. But as I pointed out in my post on 18th century year-round gardening, seasonal gardening is a luxury. In the past, each month had purpose in tending the supply of vegetables to the family, whether tending to wintering crops, fostering seed, or getting a jump on the growing season so that green would return to the table as soon as possible.

A Treatise on Gardening was published in Richmond, VA in 1793. I imagine northern neighbors would have to rely on dried goods all the longer. Here are gardening tasks for the month of February:

“So Asparagus, make your beds and fork up the old ones, sow Sugar Loaf Cabbages, latter end transplant Cauliflowers, sow Carrots and trasnfplant for seed, prick out endive for seed, sow Lettuce, Melons in hot beds, sow Parsnips, take up the old roots and prick out for seed, sow Peas and prick them into your hot beds, sow Radishes twice, plant Strawberries, plant out Turnips for seed, spade deep and make it fine, plant Beans.” (p.56)

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.